In what is sadly becoming a more and more common event across the country, a family-friendly youth soccer tournament in Oceanside, N.Y., ended in fear and panic as gusty winds sent three bounce houses toppling through the crowds, sending 13 children and adults to a local hospital for treatment. One mother was critically injured when an inflatable crashed into her while she was walking on the jogging track at the school where the tournament was being held.
A symbol of lighthearted fun, inflatables have become symbols of danger to many individuals who have been injured when the structures have collapsed or become airborne. In the U.S., thousands of bounce house rentals Clarksville TN-related injuries occur each year. In just one recent two-month period, more than 40 people nationwide were injured when 10 inflatables collapsed or were swept away by gusty winds. In separate incidents in 2010, a man was killed when an inflatable slide collapsed on him and a child died after falling from the top of an inflatable to the concrete floor below.
“I wish this was a rarity, but it’s not. It happens all the time,” said Jim Barber, a spokesman for the Fla.-based National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO). “These are probably the most dangerous amusement devices they have.”
Although he added the structures may be perfectly safe when properly anchored and supervised, currently there are few regulations in place to ensure safe installation and oversight. Unlike “traditional” powered amusement park rides which are subject to stringent state regulations and regular inspections by trained individuals, most states lack similar regulations for inflatables.
In addition to improper anchoring and supervision, inflatables that are overburdened or overcrowded can collapse. Attendants who are not trained in bounce house capacities or other limitations may allow too many people to enter the houses, causing the inflatable to topple over anchors to snap. Many bounce house rental companies simply deliver the bounce houses to the renter’s location and then leave without providing an operator or attendant, or even proper guidance in installation or use.
Bounce house injuries can have serious consequences and leave victims with substantial hospital bills and prolonged recovery times. Like any injury, identifying who is at fault is the first step in recovering monetary damages that can help mitigate the costs of treatment and recovery, including hospital bills and loss of work. In addition to the manufacturer of the inflatable, supervisor, attendant or operator may also be responsible.